In Defence of Disco by Richard Dyer

By Richard Dyer

Homosexual Left, no. eight, summer time 1979, pp. 20–23

Outside of academia, Richard Dyer has been an energetic and influential determine within the English homosexual Liberation entrance and often contributes to the magazine homosexual Left. for instance, his article ‘In safety of Disco’ in homosexual Left (1979), used to be one of many first to take disco heavily as an expression of the hot homosexual realization.

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Literary Awards
Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction Nominee for Longlist (2010)

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This is, perhaps, why hip hop and comic books go so well together: each depends upon an emotional and life-altering ordeal to create true heroes. So Superman’s exploding planet and Batman’s murdered parents don’t seem so different (metaphorically) from murdered friends and bullets in the jaw. 41 The story of Illmatic just happens to lend itself particularly well to the conventional narrative, not just because Nas grew up in such an important and oft-referenced place, but because the album is essentially about his beginnings.

It is most likely a coincidence that the defenders of the first hip hop battle, between KRS-One and Marley Marl, and (arguably) the most famous hip hop battle, between Jay-Z and Nas, would both come from Queensbridge. With the commercial success of Brooklyn and the historical significance of the Bronx, certainly Queens feels stuck in the middle, unable to assert itself as the dominant power it certainly is. Yet this isolation has proven fortuitous at each step of hip hop’s history. Here is where Run DMC felt confident enough to take hip hop national, where Nas was solemnly convinced at 20 years old that the East Coast had not seen its glory days pass it by, where 50 Cent converted street-cred into mall-cred.

Nas would eventually name his record label after Ill Will, and he has never stopped talking about him. For the cynical outside viewer, this is no different than name-checking his Queensbridge upbringing, a street-cred ploy, the badge he carries with him to get a free pass when younger, hungry emcees come after Nas (a self-confessed homebody) and his commitment to the rugged lifestyle. But listening to him talk about his experience outside of the jaded mindset would quiet 51 even the most antagonistic critic.

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